Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: Florida
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

Florida Project

Productivity of American Oystercatchers nesting on spoil islands at the Cross Florida Greenway State Recreation and Conservation Area

August 2016 - August 2019


Participating Agencies

  • University of Florida, Nature Coast Biological Station
  • USGS

Within Florida, oystercatchers are breeding at about 50 areas (managed land boundaries, DOD properties, etc.), with >90% of the population concentrated on the Gulf Coast. Nesting habitat within the Nature Coast is limited to a few small offshore islands around Cedar Key, the Horseshoe Beach jetties, and on spoil islands in Citrus County. The Cross Florida Greenway State Recreation and Conservation Area (CFG) spoil islands in Citrus County support the largest concentration of nesting oystercatchers along the Nature Coast Region and the fourth largest concentration in the state.
The objectives of this study are to use existing data and collect additional field data (2016-2018) to:
(1) determine causes of mortality and disturbance (using existing data as well as conducting direct observations and use of remote cameras)
(2) estimate annual productivity (2012-2018) with respect to covariates such as potential sources of disturbance, presence of predators, and food supply.
(3) propose management actions to increase annual productivity of oystercatchers nesting on spoil islands in the Cross Florida Greenway State Recreation and Conservation Area

Research Publications Publication Date
Vitale, N., J. Brush, and A. Powell. 2021. Factors limiting reproductive success of American Oystercatchers (Haematopus palliatus) in Florida’s Southern Big Bend. Waterbirds 44(4): 449-462. December 2021
Vitale, N., Brush, J. and A. Powell. 2021. Loss of coastal islands along Florida’s Big Bend Region: Implications for breeding American Oystercatchers. Estuaries and Coasts 44:1173–1182. September 2020
Theses and Dissertations Publication Date
Vitale, N. 2019. Habitat change, predators, and disturbance: Factors influencing productivity of American Oystercatchers (Haematopus palliatus) nesting in Florida's Big Bend. M.S. Thesis, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL. April 2019